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Nets land Dwight Howard in trade from Hornets

Did we go back in time? Is this 2012?

On Wednesday, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks made yet another pre-draft deal, acquiring former All-Star center Dwight Howard from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Timofey Mozgov and two second-round draft picks.

This is a great deal for the Nets. Howard finally gets his chance to play for the Brooklyn Nets. In 2012, he was nearly dealt to the Nets from the Orlando Magic on more than one occasion. He desperately wanted to team up with former Net Deron Williams and dominate the Eastern Conference, when both players were among the best in the NBA. Obviously, that never came to be as Howard bounced around to the Lakers, Rockets, Hawks and Hornets.

He may be past his prime, but Howard can contribute to this young team.  The Nets will be his fifth team in six seasons.

There’s no question that Howard can still play. He averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds in 81 games for the Hornets last season. He can’t shoot and turns the ball over more than he should, but he is a great rebounder and rim protector.

Mozgov has hinted in recent weeks that he would like a change of scenery after being buried on Kenny Atkinson’s bench for most of this past year. He averaged four points and three rebounds in limited minutes.

The picks Marks surrendered are the 45th pick in this year’s draft and their second-rounder in 2021. It will be interesting to see how Atkinson will deploy Howard. The Nets already have their starting center of the future in Jarrett Allen. Will Howard be open to coming off the bench behind the 20-year-old? Or will Atkinson choose to start Howard and bring Allen off the bench? Howard could have a lot to offer Allen about becoming a more complete center, but he has a reputation for not being the best teammate. Hopefully, the presence of Howard will help Allen’s development rather than harm it.

The deal, which cannot be completed until July 6, allows the Nets to shed the final year of Mozgov’s contract and give them close to $60 million in cap space during the Summer of 2019. The Nets will also have their own first-round pick next year, which will help Marks and staff accelerate the team’s rebuild and vault the Nets back into playoff contention.

I am sure Marks is not done dealing. He has made all the right moves since taking over as GM of the Nets two years ago. There is much more work to be done this week as the 2018-19 roster begins to take shape.

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Jason Goldstein is a co host of the Baseline Jumper NBA podcast, recording every Tuesday night along Ben McDonald. Jason has also spent time as the Basketball Editor at DoubleGSports.com while also handling the Brooklyn Nets Lead Writer duties since October 2015.
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